Seattle Seahawks: 5 Important Stats from Panthers vs Cardinals

For the second straight season, the Seattle Seahawks enjoyed a bye to kick off the playoffs. The Hawks were able to sit in the comfort of their own homes and watch the competition slug it out.

Due to seeding, Seattle will host the Carolina Panthers with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship Game. Confidentially in 2014, the Seahawks also played an NFC South opponent (the New Orleans Saints) at home in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Here are five stats to keep in mind when the Panthers make their way to CenturyLink Field this weekend.

  1. 123—rushing yards by Panthers running back and Washington native Jonathan Stewart. Arizona struggled against the run heading into the game. Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore ran for 113 and 144 yards respectively against the Cardinals, but Stewart has been on somewhat of a tear as of late. The Hawks will have to be careful with Stewart.
  2. 198—passing yards by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. If you take out a 39 yard screen pass to Fozzy Whittaker, the total drops to 159. Of the six QBs the Hawks have faced in the last six games, they’ve held five to under 200 yards passing. The only two to eclipse that mark, Shaun Hill and Ryan Lindley, didn’t have great games. Hill had 243 yards but also threw two picks. Lindley compiled 216 yards and had only one interception, but completed a mere 18 of his 44 passes. Neither Hill nor Lindley threw a touchdown. In fact, the past six QBs the Hawks face threw a cumulative two touchdowns, both from Eagles signal-caller Mark Sanchez. The caveat is that Sanchez threw for only 96 yards. One of his touchdowns came on a drive that started at the Seahawks’ 14 yard line. The other drive started four yards away from midfield at the Philly 46.
  3. 39—most receiving yards by a Carolina receiver. Those 39 yards came on the Whittaker screen, which was the running back’s only catch. No other Panther had five catches, with Kelvin Benjamin coming the closest with four. Benjamin was the only Carolina pass catcher with more than 33 yards when the two teams met earlier in the season. He finished with 94 receiving yards, 51 of which came on one play.
  4. 35—rushing yards by QB Cam Newton. The Carolina signal caller ran for 35 after putting up yardage totals of 51, 63, 83 and 49 in recent weeks. He only had 24 yards on 12 carries against the Hawks earlier in the season, his second worst game in terms of average yards per carry.
  5. Nine—number of different receivers who caught passes against the Cardinals. The Hawks will have to watch out for Newton spreading the ball around in general, but these aren’t Tom Brady’s Patriots. Of the nine, only four caught more than one pass. Of the five with one catch, three (Brenton Bersin, Mike Tolbert and Stewart) combined for a cumulative four yards. Whittaker’s 39 receiving yards came off a screen pass (stop me if you’ve heard that before) and was predominantly thanks to the running back rather than Newton.

The Seahawks take on the Panthers on Saturday, the winner will advance to the NFC Championship Game.

All stats courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

Fantasy Football: Picks and Tips for the 2014 NFL Season

The NFL Season is almost upon us and with preseason already underway, the focus of the NFL fan is fixed on fantasy football. To get you ready for the upcoming season, here are some picks to consider when drafting your team.

QB: Drew Brees

You can’t go wrong with either one of the “Big Three” quarterbacks, i.e. Brees, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, but Brees is the best bet. Manning is older than both and faces a much tougher schedule, while Brees’ schedule is much easier than Rodgers. You can’t botch the pick, but for me Brees is the best bet.

RB: Bishop Sankey

Rookies always carry risk, but Sankey could be a good value pick in the mid-late rounds. He could enter the year dividing carries with Shone Greene. A strong performance or two could vault him past the former Jet.  The Titans aren’t going to be world beaters. That much is true, so it could reach a point where the team gives more reps to the younger players. If Sankey is already in a time-share situation with Greene and the Titans tank, Sankey could receive the lion’s share of the carries, giving him some decent relative value.

WR: Percy Harvin

Last year I gambled on a lot of Seahawks having big years. I reached for the defense/special team, took Marshawn Lynch high and bet big on Russell Wilson. This by-and-large worked out, but the one Hawks’ weapon I struck out on was Percy Harvin, who barely played in the regular season. Everyone saw his impact in the Super Bowl, and while he won’t be returning kicks for touchdowns every week, he’ll make plenty of big plays. Pete Carroll will make sure he’s involved. Whether it is with screens or end arounds, the former Vikings star will have the ball in his hands and do what he does best, be a playmaker.

D/ST: Seattle Seahawks

A QB turning in a mediocre/sub-par showing against Seattle has become commonplace. Just ask Colin Kaepernick. The Seahawks don’t have the easiest schedule in the world in terms of opposing offenses, but their defense is that good. Reaching for it isn’t unheard of. The champs made, among others, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Kaepernick and Eli Manning look foolish last year and also held the likes of Cam Newton and Matt Ryan in check. Even with Peyton, Aaron Rodgers, Newton, Kaepernick and Nick Foles on the slate, expect the champs to put up more big numbers, and fantasy points.



Don’t fall in love with the end of your bench.

Injuries and ineffectiveness happen, so you’re probably going to have to cut somebody at some point. But breakouts happen as well. Every year a player comes out of nowhere to register a stretch of monster games. We saw it last year with Jordan Cameron and Keenan Allen. Don’t miss out on the breakout stars because you’re keeping an injured handcuff running back from your favorite team on your bench. The logic also applies if someone in your league inexplicably cuts a player who could be a solid contributor for you. Don’t fall in love with your bench.

Avoid reaching on a backup QB.

If you draft a Drew Brees or an Aaron Rodgers in the early rounds, don’t reach on Russell Wilson or Matt Ryan in the middle rounds. Barring an injury, only look for a backup QB with a good matchup when your starter has a bye week. The well of quality flex options (running back, wide receiver, tight end) dries up quickly. Don’t reach for a backup QB when you’re only going to realistically play them one week.

What tips do you have for the upcoming fantasy season?

What We Learned From the Seahawks 58-0 Win Besides the Fact that Arizona is Pitiful

It just kept going and going and going and going…the score traveling north for the Seattle Seahawks when they used the Arizona Cardinals as a doormat in route to a 58-0 win on Sunday. This comes as perfect timing for Seattle as it gives them the ultimate confidence booster (cliché, but true) going into their last “road” game of the season as well as their final three games overall, which will be split between Buffalo (in Toronto) and the Clink (the 49ers and Rams come to town) respectively.

But, this is what we learned from the game-

  • Russell Wilson deserves due consideration for Rookie of the Year. Yes, Andrew Luck is great and RGIII lights up teams with his arm and legs, but that was expected out of the top two picks in the NFL Draft. I don’t think anyone outside of the Puget Sound expected this out of a quarterback who didn’t even have his name in the starting quarterback battle “hat,” if you will. (Remember Matt Flynn and Tavaris Jackson? Flynn got his first snaps of the year in mop-up duty and Jackson is in Buffalo.)
  • More Wilson praise.  According to Pro Football Reference, Wilson has the same number of touchdown passes as Dan Marino had in his first full season. That number would be 20. That’s also more than Troy Aikman, Joe Montana, John Elway, Steve Young and Joe Namath had in their respective first full seasons.
  • The team is finally legitimate. The Seahawks were the laughing stock of the league when they qualified for the playoffs with a losing record at 7-9. But we took it to the league and the Saints in the wild-card round by stunning the defending Super Bowl champs at home. Nonetheless, the “laughing stock” talk is nonexistent as Seattle sits at 8-5 and will likely make the playoffs as either a wild-card team or as a division winner.
  • Quality Wins. Back in 2010, during the 7-9 season, Seattle beat one singular playoff team in the regular season, the Chicago Bears. Their only other out of conference win was against the pre-Cam Newton era Panthers. This season is loads different. The team walloped contenders such as the Cowboys, Jets and Vikings as well as securing close wins over Super Bowl hopefuls Green Bay, New England and Chicago.
  • Home Field Advantage. Seattle is really good at home. 6-0 in fact. Part of that has to do with Russell Wilson being phenomenal at home. He’s only thrown one interception there all season (Eli Manning had two picks at home last week alone.) And the other part has to do with the team being so good and the crowd being so loud. The Seahawks beat Green Bay, New England, Arizona, Dallas, New York and Vikings at home. I’d be cautious if I were an opposing team thinking they could come in to the Clink and get a win, especially in the playoffs.

So what do you think? Are the Seahawks Super Bowl worthy?

(Hint: I think they are.)